Former President Donald Trump on Saturday floated a horrifying scenario during a speech to some 250 elite Republican donors: He said the U.S. could bomb Russia with jets disguised with Chinese flags, then sit back and watch those nations go to war.
Specifically, Trump said the U.S. could “put the Chinese flag” on F-22 fighter jets and use them to “bomb the shit out of Russia,” according to a recording of his speech that was obtained by The Washington Post.
“And then we say, China did it, we didn’t do it, China did it, and then they start fighting with each other and we sit back and watch,” Trump said.
The Post noted it would be highly unlikely that Russia would believe a distinctive F-22 had been sent by China.
Such deception would also appear to violate the Geneva Conventions, which prohibit using a flag, insignia or uniform of another nation during an armed conflict.
“A ruse like that one is perfidy and violates [international humanitarian law] and customary international law. Perfidy in lay terms is treachery,” William Banks, a law professor at Syracuse University who researches national security, told the Post.
Trump previously praised “brilliant” Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine as “genius.” (Former Vice President Mike Pence said Friday at the same event for GOP donors that there’s “no room” in the party for “apologists for Putin,” but he didn’t call out Trump specifically.)
Trump also praised North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during his speech, calling the dictator “seriously tough” and saying his top generals and aides “cower” before him.
“His people were sitting at attention,” Trump recalled. “I looked at my people and said, ’I want my people to act like that.’” Again, the audience laughed.
Trump also falsely claimed, yet again, that he won the 2020 presidential election, according to both CBS and the Post.
Republican donors may have been chuckling about Trump’s speech, but critics on Twitter were not.